Musical Cultures: To What Extent is the Language Used in the Song Lyrics of Hip-Hop and Country Music Reflective of and Shaped by Cultural Beliefs and Experiences?

Dwayne Engh


Hip-Hop and Country musicians concurrently create culture while being affected by the specific subculture of their sociolects and communities. Within these specific speech communities, language is a vital part of constructing reality; of showing class values; and of defining who is ‘in’ and who is not - often in terms of being in opposition to and standing apart from mainstream society. Inclusion in the Hip-Hop and Country subcultures indicates a delineating boundary of authenticity, which clearly suggests that there are others who are therefore not ‘authentic’ and must be excluded. Members view their group as separate and work to maintain the boundary from the other, from the majority. In the sociolinguistic exploration of Hip-Hop and Country communities, there are five major themes that will be considered: Legitimacy, Commodification & Globalization, Boundary Margins, Sexuality, and Rebellion – giving prominence to the social context of language use rather than to purely lexical considerations within the two communities.

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International Journal of English Linguistics   ISSN 1923-869X (Print)   ISSN 1923-8703 (Online)

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